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David Gilmour, Canadian Professor And Author, Isn't Interested In Teaching Books By Women

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University of Toronto literature professor David Gilmour says he's 'not interested in teaching books by women.' His remarks ignited a controversy online, and the school released a statement distancing itself from his comments. (Photo: YouTube/mcnallyrobinson)
University of Toronto literature professor David Gilmour says he's 'not interested in teaching books by women.' His remarks ignited a controversy online, and the school released a statement distancing itself from his comments. (Photo: YouTube/mcnallyrobinson)

You might expect more from someone at an institute of higher learning.

An award-winning author and literature professor at the University of Toronto has ignited controversy by saying he's "not interested in teaching books by women ."

"I say I don't love women writers enough to teach them, if you want women writers go down the hall," professor David Gilmour said in an interview with online magazine Hazlitt, which is run by Random House.

"What I teach is guys. Serious heterosexual guys," Gilmour continued. "F. Scott Fitzgerald, Chekhov, Tolstoy. Real guy-guys."

Gilmour, 63, acknowledges that he teaches a short story by Virginia Woolf, who is "the only writer that interests me as a woman writer." But otherwise, he maintains that he only teaches writers he "truly, truly love[s]" -- and those happen (with the exception of Woolf) to be men.

The backlash to Gilmour's statements was swift. Perhaps predictably, his remarks triggered an outpouring of criticism on Twitter, including comments like these:

The story soon made the rounds on news sites in both Canada and the United States.

Now, the university seems to be distancing itself from Gilmour's comments. In a statement to The Huffington Post, University of Toronto spokeswoman Jennifer Little said, "Neither Victoria College nor the University of Toronto endorses the views attributed to David Gilmour in the article."

Little said that Gilmour "teaches elective seminars on his area of expertise, leaving other areas of literature to be taught by colleagues who can do so most effectively based on their areas of specialization."

While some may find Gilmour's lack of interest in female writers strange, the writer explained to HuffPost over the phone that it doesn't mean he's misogynist -- he just loves male writers, particularly middle-aged ones, because he can relate to them.

"That doesn't meant there aren't great women writers," Gilmour said. "[But] the trick in my course is, I want kids to leave my course thinking, 'I want to read more Chekhov, I gotta read more Chekhov.' I can't do that for Alice Munro or Margaret Atwood or any other female writers I admire who are as good as any male writers but who don't speak to me as profoundly."

Gilmour concluded by saying, "I'm a breast-stroke guy. You don't put a breast-stroke guy in the pool and ask him to teach the crawl."

WATCH: David Gilmour and his son discuss a book they wrote together about Gilmour's decision to let his son drop out of high school on the condition he watch three films a week with his father.

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